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Barclay James  Harvest - Octoberon CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.76 | 216 ratings

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Dark Nazgul
2 stars Some variations please? After all this is prog rock, isn't it?

This is an album of mediocre quality, with some good songs, but also very weak moments. The atmosphere of the songs are more or less always the same and this monotony overall harm to the album, especially after several plays. Another sore point is the weakness of the vocals sung by Holroyd, (the lack of personality of the vocal performances are really evident); much better in this sense, the vocals of Lees, who is able to convey to the listener a greater emotional involvement (for example in Suicide?).

The style? "Octoberon" is essentially an album of over-arranged pop music, with indigestible orchestral arrangements obtained by Wolly Wolstenholme with an extensive use of keyboards. In the album solo parts are performed just few times, and the rhythms are almost always very slow and steady, in order to give even greater solemnity to the overall sound: the results, however, aren't memorable.

As for the two initial tracks, The World Goes On, featuring acoustic guitar and the typical slow pace, it is extremely difficult to assimilate for me, especially because the first impact with the voice of Holroyd. The song is characterized by indigestible orchestral arrangements and the melody is not immediately intuitive. I must admit that after repeated listening, however, things have improved, although I always felt that when I listen to this song, something is missing. Undoubtedly it is a song where rhythmic and harmonic variations are totally absent. Absolutely out of context the final whole choir of the next song May Day, another song in which the monotony reigns supreme, even if you immediately feel the good performance by Lees at vocals instead of Holroyd.

These first fourteen minutes are, in my opinion, exhausting.

Other songs are good, especially Ra, certainly the most typically progressive track, with a central part very convincingly. Believe In Me, despite the voice of Holroyd, is one of the best songs and a beautiful finale, enriched in masterly fashion by the mellotron of Wolstenholme. Suicide? is a melancholic song, with beautiful harmonies, but a little repetitive: after many plays there is the risk of getting bored.

Other songs are more catchy, like Rock'N'Roll Star, that sounds like a song by the Eagles (!) and Polk Street Rag the only song that deviates slightly from the others. These songs have their moments, but they are essentially pop songs: there is almost nothing of progressive. There are also pop songs that may be considered as masterpieces (think for example to the pop songs of album like "Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac), but this is certainly not the case with Rock'N'Roll Star and Polk Street Rag.

Recommended to fans only. Rating 4/10 and two stars.

Best song: Ra

Dark Nazgul | 2/5 |


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